Greg Star, Class of ’13 a founding partner and COO at Carvertise, a multi-million dollar car wrap advertising company, shares the top five things he learned from UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
The concept of Carvertise started with a question I shared with my business partner, Mac Nagaswami, Class of ’13, who was a fellow student in the Lerner College, “How is this not a thing yet?”
From that time in 2014, with the help of professors and mentors, we’ve grown Carvertise into the largest car wrap advertising company in the country. We have over 300,000 people in our driver network who place ads on their cars for companies that they support.
We are active in over 35 different cities, working with brands like Buffalo Wild Wings, EA Sports, Crayola, and (most importantly) University of Delaware. The lessons I learned from the Lerner College and Horn Entrepreneurship laid the foundation that allowed us to scale up the company to where it is today.
The Lerner College prepared me for my journey. Here are some tips I’d liked to pass along to current Lerner students:
1. Come Prepared
I learned that you need to do your homework before showing up for classes like Accounting 208, Statistics 201 and Economics 301. I had to build up the discipline to consistently read the notes before each class or else I would be lost. This self-discipline has carried over to my career. I always make time to prepare for meetings with prospects, employees and investors.
2. Simplify concepts
Being able to communicate complicated subject matter in a simplified fashion is an invaluable tool that I gained at Lerner. I knew that I truly understood a subject when I was able to explain the concept in a way that a child could comprehend. Being able to concisely communicate to stakeholders is an important skill. As Ben Franklin once said, “If I had more time I’d write a shorter note.”
3. Build a great team
A lot of classes at Lerner requires students to work in teams. Through these classes, I learned firsthand how important it was to pair up with a great group and how the quality of the people around you can affect your grade. Towards the end of college, I started to ask the professors who the brightest students in class were. I would then ask those students to be my study partners. This idea of looking for the brightest team members carries over to Carvertise in so many ways. It is a key principle that I still use to recruit new team members.
4. Ask for help
I had to learn how to swallow my pride and ask for help when I was stuck on a problem or having trouble in a class. I would never have guessed at the time that this practice would end up being the biggest reason for Carvertise’s success. I ask for help all the time!
5. Say no
Between different classes, exam schedules and projects, I had to learn how to prioritize my time while at Lerner. My junior year of college I finally learned how to say “no” and saw firsthand how powerful that can be. In a startup like Carvertise, one of the only things you can control is your time. Making sure that we spend time in the areas where we can realize the most return on investment has been a big part of our company’s growth.